In recent years, Mark Cuban’s vision for a new arena has included a 20-story Madison Square Garden-like structure with window views of Dallas and fans arriving in autonomous cars.
Now his plans are substantially larger in scope, grandeur and — he believes — economic windfall for Dallas and Texas.
And himself, naturally.
“My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino,” Cuban told The Dallas Morning News. “That’s the mission.”
Mavericks governor Cuban is not alone among Texas professional sports team owners who think the convergence of athletics and legalized gambling is overdue in the Lone Star State.
Every major sports franchise in Texas is part of the Sports Betting Alliance, formed in 2021 with the objective to legalize and regulate sports betting here — toppling a Texas-sized domino on the path of 31 other states that have sanctioned it.
Cuban, though, is the first Texas team owner to publicly declare a desire to partner with a casino for a resort-arena development. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s company, Landry’s, Inc., owns Golden Nugget casinos in five states, but he has not publicly stated plans to replace Houston’s 19-year-old Toyota Center.
Cuban’s revelation is topical and timely. Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, has filed Senate Joint Resolution 17, a constitutional amendment to be considered during the 88th Texas legislative session, which begins Jan. 10.
Alvarado’s resolution, if approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate, would enable Texas voters to decide next November whether to legalize sports betting and allow a newly created Texas Gaming Commission to issue licenses for up to four destination resorts in metropolitan areas.
“I welcome him to the arena of this discussion,” Alvarado said of Cuban when reached by The News on Thursday. “Having somebody like Mark Cuban on board certainly gives a boost of enthusiasm to the effort. Hopefully he’ll use his clout and resources to help get us across the finish line.
“He’s a smart businessman. He realizes the opportunity and potential that gaming has.”
Why ex-Gov. Rick Perry decided to become a spokesperson in support of sports betting
Alvarado has introduced similar bills dating to 2008, when she was in the House. She said her 2021 bill, virtually identical to the one she’s filed for consideration in 2023, gained enthusiasm when Seguin Republican Rep. John Kuempel co-sponsored it in the House. Kuempel has re-filed his bill for 2023.
The 2021 bills died soon after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed that sports gambling wouldn’t “see the light of day.” But at least one longtime political analyst says wagering in Texas appears to be a matter of when, not if, though sports betting alone has a better chance of passing than casino gambling.
“I would say the conditions for the passage of casino gambling are better today than any other time,” said Mark Jones, a …….